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Wake Forest getting looks in way-too-early top 25s for 2022 football season
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Wake Forest getting looks in way-too-early top 25s for 2022 football season

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Wake Forest finishes with a No. 15 ranking in the Associated Press college football poll but is already drawing attention for 2022 after its 11-3 season.

National outlets traditionally rush their way-too-early top 25s for the new season onto their sites within hours of the conclusion of the national championship game.

But for what they’re worth, and before the transfer portal has its say, here’s where those projections are slotting Coach Dave Clawson’s Demon Deacons:

ESPN.com: No. 14.

SI.com: No. 8.

SportingNews.com: No. 11.

AthlonSports.com: No. 15.

247Sports.com: No. 11.

N.C. State is also raising eyebrows for next season. Among the projections for Coach Dave Doeren’s Wolfpack:

ESPN.com: No. 8.

SI.com: No. 19.

AthlonSports.com: No. 16.

247Sports.com: No. 18.

Shut out of the top 10 again

The 2022 projections are appetizing, and perhaps the season will bring change for the Tar Heel state. The 2021 season is the 24th in a row without a North Carolina team in the Associated Press’ final top 10.

Only 12 North Carolina Division I or Football Bowl Subdivision teams, in poll history dating to 1939, have achieved that notoriety. The most recent is North Carolina, before today’s players were born, finishing 1997 as the No. 6 team and with a top 10 ranking for a second straight season. The ‘97 season was also Mack Brown’s last before he departed to take the head coaching job at Texas.

Carolina has finished in the AP top 10 seven times; Duke has made the list four times, but not since 1960; and East Carolina has been ranked in the top 10 once, in 1991.

By comparison, men’s college basketball didn’t provide the state’s first taste of national success but has been far more filling. Duke and North Carolina each have finished in the final top 10 in 38 seasons (eight for State, six for Wake). Duke has finished No. 1 eight times, and Carolina has been ranked at the top six times (one for State). And Duke, Carolina and State, of course, have combined to win 13 NCAA Tournament championships.

Before 1963, final AP football polls were published before bowl games. The football seasons in which a North Carolina team has finished in the AP top 10:

1939

8. Duke (8-1)

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1941

2. Duke (8-0-1)

1943

7. Duke (8-1)

1946

9. North Carolina (8-1-1)

1947

9. North Carolina (8-2)

1948

3. North Carolina (9-0-1)

1960

10. Duke (7-2)

1980

10. North Carolina (11-1)

1981

9. North Carolina (10-2)

1991

9. East Carolina (11-1)

1996

10. North Carolina (10-2)

1997

6. North Carolina (11-1)

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